According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are the most prominent mental health issue in our country. 40 million adults over 18 years of age suffer from anxiety. Anxiety can feel debilitating to many but there is relief to be had. Some people may choose to see a medical doctor to obtain medication and many people find relief from a combination of medication and psychotherapy. There are also many natural options that do help many people find relief and even freedom from the grip of anxiety.

There is great value to seeing a therapist who utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy. I have found in my years of practice as a therapist and teacher of meditation and yoga that a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness practice, relaxation training, use of essential oils, herbs, regular exercise and nutritional components brings great relief to the clients I have seen without having to rely on medication. I am not saying this is true for everyone but it is worth taking a look. As always, check in with your own doctor before trying any new regimen.

I will be offering a series of blog entries on natural interventions that may bring relief to symptoms of anxiety. Let’s begin by taking a look at the benefits of herbal teas.

Utilizing herbal teas can bring relief from the symptoms of anxiety for many people. It is important to avoid teas that contain caffeine if avoiding anxiety. Green teas, white tea and black tea all contain caffeine so read the labels on the boxes before purchasing and consuming.

Chamomile: There is a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology indicating patients who received chamomile treatment experienced a significant reduction in symptoms from anxiety symptoms. The herb is often used to calm nerves, decrease indigestion and calm the stomach. Some people have a mild allergy to chamomile so be sure to check with your doctor and pay close attention to how your body responds.

Passionflower: Passionflower has been used for many years to relieve anxiety, insomnia and stress. The herb is known to be as successful at treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder as the commonly prescribed medication Oxazepam. While there are side effects such as upset stomach, drowsiness and headache, these typically only occur if someone is allergic to passionflower or takes the herb in large doses. Overdosing can be avoided by drinking it in a tea. Combine 1 teaspoon of dried passionflower and 1 cup of boiling water.

Ashwaghanda:  This herb is reported to reduce the production of stress hormones that result in the fight-or-flight response. This can help the body relax and support the adrenal glands. It also is a potent antioxidant as well. This Indian herbal ashwaganda  has a mild relaxant, tranquilizer like-effect on the central nervous system.

Lavender: Research by the University of Maryland Medical Center shows that lavender’s “calming, soothing, and sedative effects” can help treat insomnia, anxiety,depression, fatigue and agitation, among other ailments. Lavender incorporated into a massage can also help anxious people feel more positive and less anxious. You can drink the tea one to three times a day. Place 1 to 2 teasoons of the herb in a cup of hot water and let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes before drinking. Pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding should avoid consuming lavender.

Stay tuned for more blog posts offering other natural ways to seek relief from the symptoms of anxiety.

Mindfully yours,

Lynn Louise Wonders